AVS Forum Addicted Member
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Stop making curved screens
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Absolutes.. endless trolling... "fanboys".... it's all pretty tiresome.
How dare I report this isn't the second coming of display technology?
Ironically enough, in the very same demo I caught was the man most singlehandedly responsible for the development of plasma televisions. I'm not going to speak for anyone, but I'd describe his reaction as not far from mine --> impressed, but not blown away. He spoke with some Pioneer engineering folk afterward and complimented the work on the black levels.
Some things are clear: Pioneer has made huge strides in that regard and has improved the display's handling of room light to some extent. Some other things are clear: People who saw the blacks as disappearing into the bezel are either (a) confused (b) had their irises and visual perception system skewed in such a way that illusion existed for them or (c) are touting some phenomenon that just wasn't there.
That said, I have no idea what people think their "black reference" is based on. You have never seen absolute black in a movie theater. You have never seen absolute black in a home theater unless it was a pitch black cave. And, no, friend, you have not seen it on your ol' CRT. In fact, few CRTs on the market outside of calibrated HT projectors have their black levels meaningfully lower than a Panasonic plasma. Yes, I mean direct view sets. The last of the Sony XBRs that were 4:3 were often shown with letterbox material so you could routinely see the black bars and the black frame. You could not -- with user controls -- blacken the letterbox bars and still maintain anything resembling a decent picture.
This doesn't even address the fact that these vaunted CRTs couldn't touch the ANSI contrast of a current DLP projector -- nor a model from 2 years ago. And yet all the demos that people rave about involve star fields or some such.
The parlor trick on all these "absolute black" demos is the presence of a brighter display and a darker one. Pioneer put such a display in the room for you. It did a wonderful job of providing you a glowing "black" that the other set -- quite naturally -- blew away. Sharp had a "million:1" contrast LCD demo in a pitch black room that employed the same trick. Oooh! Aaah! A glowing Sharp LCD that looked horrible next to the new tech (modulated LED backlight and the latest greatest filtering + whatever secret sauce might have been in there). It was a great demo -- of stars in deep space (and eventually some other images that still were impressive).
Now, one big difference is that Pioneer will be shipping something soon and Sharp won't be. But otherwise, it was the same basic demo.
Pioneer's ND filter design was a step forward. This technology is yet another step forward. And they sure convinced a lot of people a breakthrough was about to be witnessed. Do that and you've won 90% of the mental battle.
To me, this was an awful lot closer to evolutionary than revolutionary. And it took just a day or so before "infinite contrast" was replaced with "approximately 20,000:1". Calibrate it and give me 1/2 that in true sequential CR, give me 1000:1 ANSI CR, give me every last bit of shadow detail on the disk and I'm kinda done discussing contrast ratio. I want to point out that no flat panel on the market comes remotely close to those specs today. Perhaps Pioneer's new plasma will change that this coming winter.
We can hope.
There's a saying about "everything in moderation". If only it was applied to well, you know...